Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Move Afoot to Reward Consumer Thrift

“The health-care bills moving through Congress contain little to reward consumers for lowering their health costs, an omission prompting some lawmakers to press for more such incentives. Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) is proposing amendments to the Senate bill that would give people who are eligible for coverage through their employer the option of buying cheaper coverage from the new insurance exchanges -- and pocketing the difference. There are virtually no provisions in the Senate or House health bills that directly reward consumers for choosing cost-efficient care or lowering their medical costs through healthy behavior. Instead, the White House and top Democrats who drafted the health bills focused on giving doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers incentives for reducing unnecessary treatments. ‘I'm very troubled that the Senate bill does not empower consumers more,’ Ms. Collins said. ‘If they're given information and financial incentives, they'll make good decisions.’”


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